Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) is the most common anxiety disorder in children younger than 12 years of age. Separation anxiety disorder (SAD) simply refers to developmentally inappropriate fear or anxiety about a child’s real or imagined separation from individuals to whom they are close to (i.e., family, friends, etc.). In the United States, the 6-12 month prevalence of SAD among children is 4%, while the 12-month prevalence of SAD among adolescents is 1.6%.
- Frequent distress when thinking about or anticipating separation from a key figure in their life.
- Persistent and excessive reluctance to leave their home and go to school or work while away from a key figure in their life.
- Persistent fear of being isolated, abandoned or alienated.
- Repeated nightmares centered on separation.
- Refusal to sleep away from home or go to sleep in the absence of the key figures in their life.
- Frequent bodily/physical complaints such as stomach upset, headache.